Norfolk School Board delays decision on in-person return, makes Wednesday asynchronous learning day


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — An official decision on when Norfolk students will return to in-person learning is still up in the air.

The Norfolk School Board met Wednesday night and agreed to create another survey for teachers and families so the division can gather more information before making a decision on returning students to the classroom.

Superintendent Sharon Brydsong wanted to make it very clear no student would be back in the classroom full-time yet. During their meeting on Wednesday, the board discussed a way for students to have a hybrid system.

In their proposed plan, students in grades three through five would begin a hybrid schedule on Nov. 16. All middle school students would begin a hybrid schedule Nov. 30, and all high school students would begin a hybrid schedule on Jan. 4.

It would mean half the students attend classes Monday and Tuesday in-person, and the other half would attend Thursday and Friday. This would leave Wednesday open.

“As students are phased back into school those not slated for in-person learning will continue to follow the online learning schedule with Wednesday noted as asynchronous learning days,” said the Chief Academic Officer James Pohl.

This is true for the teachers, as well.

“The Wednesdays would provide time for teachers to set up their rooms, reach out to parents, collaborate with colleagues and participate in voluntary division level professional development,” Pohl added.

Byrdsong assured there is plenty of PPE available and they are taking every precaution to keep staff and students safe.

There were questions regarding transportation, extra compensation for teachers and re-surveying the district, but leaders did want to make sure whatever the decision will be it will be a group effort on overall safety.

The board plans to revisit the subject on Oct. 21 during its meeting.

In August, Norfolk Public Schools said 5,000 students are enrolled in its Virtual Scholars Academy. This is the semester-long commitment of virtual schooling for parents who prefer to keep their students online even when schools transfer to blended learning.

The board voted on July 22 to begin the first nine weeks of school with 100 percent virtual learning.

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